Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Yesterday (March 2) marked 10 years since the death of British soul singer Dusty Springfield, known for such songs as "Wishin' And Hopin'," "I Only Want To Be With You" and "Son Of A Preacher Man." After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Dusty passed away the day she was to receive the OBE (Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace, and 10 days before she was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in the U.S. She was 59.
At her funeral in London, Elton John noted, "I think she is the greatest white singer that there ever has been," while Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys said, "I think Dusty would have been amazed and moved to learn how much she means to people, what an impact her singing has made, what fondness people feel for her. The British have always taken pop music surprisingly seriously and they know that Dusty Springfield was unique, a soul singer, a star, the real thing. Dusty's voice is always there to lift you up when you're down. I feel proud that we knew her and worked with her and played a small part in her fabulous life. She was 'fab', and because of her music, she always will be."
The site Broadway World stated yesterday that Wicked and Pushing Daisies actress Kristin Chenoweth is currently developing a movie based on the life of Springfield, which Playbill mentioned in 2005 would focus on the singer's life while recording her classic 1969 album Dusty In Memphis.
Below are some clips of Dusty Springfield both in her prime in the '60s and after her successful comeback in the 1980s.
If you're planning to see M83 perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall this Saturday, don't expect to hear "Kim & Jessie" or anything off the French band's recent album Saturdays = Youth. Says frontman Anthony Gonzales, "We'll play tracks that are more like orchestral material—mostly songs from my previous albums, for example 'Before The Dawn Heals Us', because I don't think it's really interesting to play pop songs with the orchestra."
The reunited No Doubt (above) to perform on the May 11 season finale of Gossip Girl. Then band will do a cover of Adam and the Ants' "Stand And Deliver" on the hit nighttime teen soap, before Gwen Stefani and Co. head off on tour this summer.
Metalheads, get ready to rock the big screen. The high-def documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 will air for one day only (April 21) on 400 screens in 34 different countries. The film chronicles Iron Maiden circling the globe on a Boeing 757 to perform 23 sold out stadium and arena shows. The band was named Best Live Act at the Brit Awards two weeks ago.
An interesting review of Erasure's Total Pop!—The First 40 Hits compilation from U.K. site The Quietus: "That Erasure were fated forever to remain in the critical and commercial shadow of fellow synth-pop behemoths the Pet Shop Boys seems largely down to their more overtly gay aesthetic: while Q journalists and Mondeo Man alike could cheerfully endorse the latter’s arch pop nous and ambiguous sexuality without too many hang-ups, it was harder to fully embrace Erasure’s flamboyant outrageousness without finding your masculinity just a little compromised. No matter: in an era when the contrived camp affectations of The Scissor Sisters and Mika is hailed as in some way progressive and ground-breaking, Erasure deserve to be celebrated for their sparkling originality and crusading flamboyance, but mostly for their impeccable tuneage. Be out and be proud."
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
U2's twelfth studio album No Line On The Horizon, featuring a photograph of the sea meeting the sky by Hiroshi Sugimoto on the cover. Last night in Los Angeles, a special U2 pop up installation was opened to the public at Space 15 Twenty on North Cahuenga Blvd. The installation is open today from noon to 9 p.m., as well. Rock photographer Anton Corbijn's pictures of the band are on display, and his new film Linear will be screened at the location.
Total Dance 2009, mixed by Tony Okungbowa and featuring remixes of hits by Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Estelle, David Archuleta, Coldplay and Chris Brown, amongst others. Annoyingly, iTunes only offers the continuous mix as one hour+-long MP3.
The members of Take That—Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen—appear on four different covers of U.K. gay mag Attitude's February issue.
Says Attitude: "Riding off the success of their number one album The Circus, we shot four covers with Gary, Jason, Howard and Mark. In one of their most revealing and intimate interviews, Attitude Assistant Editor Colin Crummy spent an unprecedented amount of time with the band and got the scoop on rumours, Robbie [Williams] and their ongoing relationship with their gay audience."
The Circus recently spent five weeks at the top of the British album chart, and has sold 1.5 million copies in their home country since its release last month.
In early December, Universal Music U.K. chief David Joseph told Billboard, "We have a lot of interest in the music from our American partners."
He also added that a decision on a U.S. release will be made "in the next few months."
It was announced this week that Take That have been nominated for a 2009 Brit Award in the category of Best British Group, along with Coldplay, Girls Aloud, Elbow and Radiohead.
SOME CLIPS FOR THE WEEK:
U2: Their new single, "Get On Your Boots," from its world debut on Ireland's RTE FM2 morning show on Monday. What do you all think of this one? A bit too "Vertigo" maybe?
THE SATURDAYS: The radio edit done by Erasure's Vince Clarke for the U.K.-based girl group's current single "Issues."
LILY ALLEN: Her cover of the Clash's "Straight To Hell" for upcoming compilation Heroes benefiting the multi-national War Child charity. The album will also feature Rufus Wainwright, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip and Duffy.
REAL MCCOY: The unreleased U.S. video for the German act's 1995 hit "Run Away," which surfaced online this week. The 1984 theme was apparently deemed "too dark" by Arista at the time.
THE WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:
Kelly Clarkson's new single "My Life Would Suck Without You," currently #1 on iTunes. Produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, the song pretty much picks up where "Since U Been Gone" left off. Curiously—but perhaps appropriately?—iTunes stars out the "U" and the "C" whithin the word "suck" at the online store. That kinda sucks.
Antony And The Johnsons' third LP, The Crying Light, which contains a 1977 photo of butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno on the cover.
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Alanis Morissette's first studio album in four years, Flavors Of Entanglement -- on which she worked with British producer Guy Sigsworth -- hits retail and online stores today. Most reviews are echoing each other in saying, quite simply, it's the best thing she's done since Jagged Little Pill. Perhaps it's because Alanis (seen above performing at the "Rock in Rio" music festival in Lisbon last month) creates her best when she's been scorned?
The new album, for the most part, covers Morissette's breakup with actor Ryan Reynolds (pictured right), whom she was with for two years and eventually engaged to, and the aftermath. Reynolds is now engaged to Scarlett Johansson.
The 34-year-old singer talked to the Los Angeles Times about the emotions that fueled the making of the album: "I think it's the straw that breaks the camel's back. It's having had too many of them. And I was a full-blown love addict, so it was like, 'I can't keep doing this, my body can't take it.' Breakups are a horrible thing for almost everybody I know. For someone who is a love addict, it's debilitating.
"I've been on a constant journey toward finally surrendering and hitting the rock bottom that I've been avoiding my whole life. . . . So this was a huge, critical juncture for me. Everything broke, and it was an amazing and horrifying time."
I can see how you'd be pretty bummed if Ryan Reynolds was the one that got away.
It's worth noting that Alanis also seems to have gotten a bit more electronic on this album, though the results are a bit more Björk than Kylie.
Lily Allen says Big Brother is watching her in the U.S.: "She was terrified to be photographed anywhere that people may have been taking drugs in case she got linked to them. She even started staying in instead of going out clubbing in case certain people got the wrong idea." Gosh, these really are tough times for everyone.
Janet Jackson claims Island Def Jam have jumped ship on her latest album after single "Rock With U" failed to chart, and that she's now unable to visit Europe on her upcoming tour. The label's response: "Unfortunately we haven't experienced the results we would have liked with this new album. But we respect and support Janet."
Here's 14-year-old Mancunian street dancer George Sampson and his winning performance on Britain's Got Talent, which sent Mint Royale's remix of "Singin' In The Rain" to the top of the U.K. chart this week:
U2's manager Paul McGuinness says Radiohead's decision to offer the band's In Rainbows album on a pay-what-you-want basis online backfired, and that Bono and Co. will not be following suit with their new set, due out this fall. "Sixty to 70% of the people who downloaded the record stole it anyway, even though it was available for free," McGuinness tells the BBC. "We will obviously work with whatever technology is available to make the release of the new record as interesting as possible. [But] for U2, physical sales are still an enormous part of our business and we still sell a lot of actual CDs."
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Between R.E.M., George Michael and Kylie Minogue, it's a gay ol' week as far as new music releases. Kylie's X finally officially drops in the U.S. today, after making a brief three-week appearance on iTunes back in February.
Australia's "singing budgie" is doing stateside promotion all week for X -- including performances of new single "All I See" tonight on Dancing With The Stars, tomorrow on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and then Thursday on Ellen -- and yesterday she sat down for an interview with the Today Show's Matt Lauer.
During their chat, Kylie responded to rumors that she'll soon marry French actor Olivier Martinez, tried to explain her elusive chart success in America and instructed Lauer on how he'll have to greet her once she's awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) this summer by the Queen of England.
The U.S. version of X contains an extra mix of "All I See," featuring rapper Mims.
SEEING DOUBLE: The pixelated cover of Jesse McCartney's new album Departure, due out May 20, might evoke some "rude" thoughts from Robbie Williams.
Following suit with Madonna, U2 have signed a 12-year deal with concert promoting firm Live Nation, though Universal will continue to distribute the Irish band's actual music. Says Bono of Live Nation, who has managed U2's tours for three decades: "We've been dating for over 20 years now. It's about time we tied the knot."
U.K. gossip site Digital Spy finds Beyoncé, Limp Bizkit, Sugababes, Steps, Fiona Apple, Blink 182 and Michael Jackson all have one thing in common: they've got the worst album titles of our times.
Fall Out Boy's plan to gig on every continent within two weeks falls apart. FOB frontman Pete Wentz: “It’s an utter disappointment… I read [on the MTV Newsroom blog] someone compared it to Geraldo opening Capone's vault, but it's worse than that, because, like, Capone's stuff is in there, you just can't get the light on. There's no spin for it; we got two hours away from Antarctica and we can't go.”
POP BLOG WATCH: Miss feeling like a clove-smoking, coffee-drinking teenage girl running rampant in the record store? Hit up Eurovision- and Swede-obsessed Poster Girl.
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
George Michael's Twenty Five, a two-disc collection of various hits -- including four from Wham! -- and six songs previously unreleased in the U.S. The deluxe edition contains Michael's music videos.
R.E.M.'s 14th album Accelerate, produced by Jacknife Lee.
Moby's Last Night, which finds him returning to his dance roots.
A Town And Two Cities, the debut from British alt rockers Your Vegas. They also have a line of fashion accessories coming to U.S. Bloomingdale's.
Van Morrison's Keep It Simple, his 33rd studio album, and first since 1999.
Please welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning weekly music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.
Cheers, Rhino! Aiming at the holiday market, Warner Bros.' specialty label unleashes the massive, four-disc Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millenium today. It's a pretty extensive compilation that is the perfect gift for any Anglophile of the generation who, while we Americans were being bombarded with early '90s grunge culture and flannel (and the watered-down Collective Soul/Everclear guitar pop that followed), spent their teen years videotaping MTV's erstwhile Sunday night alternative rock program 120 Minutes just to catch a glimpse of the latest Charlatans or Soup Dragons clip coming over magically from across the ocean.
Overall, The Brit Box aims to present the listener one song from each of the players in the ravey Madchester, Brit Pop and Cool Britannia scenes, as well as ones released during the commercialized collapse of the latter once Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister. Each disc is broken up by periods of years, and the first one (1984 - 1990) gets it right with all the influences; The Smiths, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Echo And The Bunnymen and The Primitives. The key '90s staples are present: songs that reveled in the mundanity of everyday British life such as Blur's "Tracy Jacks", Pulp's "Common People" (below, left), Saint Etienne's "You're In A Bad Way" and Oasis' "Live Forever".
Of course, the fatal flaw with undertaking a project this massive is that it's virtually unfathomable to include just "She Bangs The Drum" by The Stone Roses (pictured) -- arguably the band that kicked off the Brit Pop movement, and the reason this box set exists -- and not include "I Am The Resurrection", "Fool's Gold" or "I Wanna Be Adored" (let alone their whole first album).
Likewise, while it's nice that Suede's "Metal Mickey" is included, it's almost a crime to not be able to hear the drugged-up "Animal Nitrate" as well. Its fetishized, gender-bending video (above, right) was curiously banned in the U.K. in 1993 for featuring Suede frontman Brett Anderson kissing a man, albeit one wearing the mask of a pig.
Ultimately, The Brit Box is a great beginning and a nostalgic reminder of worthy music that may have passed the Stateside listener by. For those looking for a proper taste of Brit Pop, though, check out the self-titled debuts from The Stone Roses and Suede, as well as Pulp's Different Class, Oasis' Definitely Maybe and Saint Etienne's So Tough.
There's sure to be some crying at the discotheque...or at least in the sweaty, beer-drenched corners of hipster hole-in-the-walls around the world. New York-based electroclash duo Avenue D (pictured right), known for their explicit club hits "Do I Look Like A Slut?" and "The Sex That I Need", have decided to call it quits after six years. Daphne and Debbie, former proteges of DJ and producer Larry Tee, had this to say in their email newsletter: "...as you may have already guessed: AVENUE D IS BREAKING UP. It's been a great six years, (thanks to all of you) and we are ready to move on to new things. Now the good news: We are going to have TWO FINAL SHOWS!!!! DEC.1ST - BROOKLYN, NY @ AREA 51 which is also our BIRTHDAY PARTY! DEC. 29TH (or 28th) - MIAMI, FL @ STUDIO A. Even more good news: we will be releasing 3 CDs and a DVD along with our breakup...also our current albums are now available on the iTUNES STORE."
On the complete flipside of The Brit Box, Universal has finally issued Nirvana's Unplugged In New York on DVD. In addition to featuring a highly strung-out Kurt Cobain (just watch those teeth grind!), the set contains the full set list that didn't all make it on air for the November 1993 performance, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary on the broadcast and unedited rehearsal footage. With the stage covered in funereal flowers, it's both eerie and sad to watch now knowing Cobain was dead five and a half months later.
Music blogger Arjan snagged an interview with Duran Duran's John Taylor, who is currently promoting the band's new album, Red Carpet Massacre. The handsome bassist commented on DD's gay appeal: "We just appeared, perhaps, to be very open. We took our image very seriously. It was not a macho presentation. It was a presentation that had its roots in glamour, and, you know, there was an ambiguity to it, I suppose. And I think the sound and the look and the subject matter made it sort of appealing to a gay audience. It was certainly not threatening. I would think we have an audience that any gay man or woman is gonna feel comfortable in."
Best Buy and Live Nation, the firm Madonna recently signed a music deal with, have teamed up to exclusively release Mariah Carey's The Adventures Of Mimi live DVD at Best Buy retail outlets. The double disc, available December 4, contains extras including Spike Lee's 15-minute spoof, Loves & Haters, starring Carey as herself.
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
Daft Punk's Alive 2007, a live set recorded at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy sports arena in France this past summer. There is also an enhanced version available with an enhanced CD containing 50 pages of photographs and five bonus tracks.
The surprisingly none-too-shabby self-titled debut from this year's American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks. Despite a few bland ballads, it's not a bad little pop album. It's also one of the first offerings from an Idol champ that Clive Davis hasn't had an executive-producing hand in.
Dreaming Out Loud by Ryan Tedder's band, OneRepublic. The album contains the original version of "Apologize" as well as the remix by Timbaland that's currently in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Incidentally, Tedder also co-wrote and produced the current #1 single in the U.K., "Bleeding Love" by last year's X Factor winner, Leona Lewis.
The 20th anniversary edition of U2's Joshua Tree. In addition to being available in CD and double-vinyl format, the deluxe edition features a 36-page booklet and bonus disc of B-sides and rarities, and the box set edition features the bonus CD, a 56-page hardcover book and concert DVD.
D-Sides, a collection of remixes, B-sides and bonus tracks from Gorillaz. In a review of the collection, Entertainment Weekly notes in its current issue, "Much of the album would've been lucky to appear on the flip side of a vinyl single back when people bought such things...B-Minus Sides might've been more accurate."